Russian Group UAC To Build Parts Of Airbus A350

Parts are for the A350 XWB.

European aerospace group EADS said March 22 it had deepened its links with Russian counterpart UAC, which is to build parts of the new family of Airbus A350 planes under a deal signed by the companies. State-owned UAC is to manufacture unspecified parts of the main airframe of the A350 XWB, a mid-sized longhaul airliner that is being developed by plane maker Airbus at a cost of 10 billion euros (US$13 billion.)

The deal came after Russian airline Aeroflot pledged on March 22 to order 22 A350s.

In 2005, Airbus and Russia's Irkut Corp signed a letter of intent for Irkut to participate in the development of the A350 on behalf of UAC, which was being set up at the time. Airbus, a unit of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), said UAC would take a 5% stake in the development of the airframe of the A350.

The deal signed on March 22 will also lead to the creation an EADS-UAC joint venture, based in Dresden, Germany, to convert single-aisled Airbus A320s into cargo versions.

Freighter conversion centers for the A320 family of planes will be set up in Lukhovitsy, near Moscow, and at the German site.

A further agreement "foresees a joint study of the transport aircraft market and possible cooperation between EADS and the Russian industry in this field." And a final settlement opens the way for UAC to buy a shareholding in an Airbus engineering center in Russia. Last year, the Russian state bought a stake of between 5%-7% stake in EADS via state-controlled bank Vneshtorgbank (VTB), sparking fears that the oil-rich country was seeking to exert control over the strategic European company.

The France-based group has said it wants to create risk-sharing partnerships with suppliers to build 50% of the airframe of the A350 and is targeting investment of 1.8 billion euros.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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